Medical

Microfluidic Extraction of Biomarkers Using Water as Solvent

Terahertz modulation of permittivity of water would enable solvation of molecules of interest. A proposed device, denoted a miniature microfluidic biomarker extractor (μ-EX), would extract trace amounts of chemicals of interest from samples, such as soils and rocks. Traditionally, such extractions are performed on a large scale with hazardous organic solvents; each solvent capable of dissolving only those molecules lying within narrow ranges of specific chemical and physical characteristics that notably include volatility, electric charge, and polarity. In contrast, in the μ-EX, extractions could be performed by use of small amounts (typically between 0.1 and 100 μL) of water as a universal solvent.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Electronics & Computers, Electronics, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Briefs, MDB

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Identifying and Inactivating Bacterial Spores

Problems associated with, and new strategies for, inactivating resistant organisms like Bacillus canaveralius (found at Kennedy Space Center during a survey of three NASA cleanrooms) have been defined. Identifying the particular component of the spore that allows its heightened resistance can guide the development of sterilization procedures that are targeted to the specific molecules responsible for resistance, while avoiding using unduly harsh methods that jeopardize equipment.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Briefs, MDB

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Crashworthy Seats Would Afford Superior Protection

Adjustments enable optimization of support for different body sizes and shapes. Seats to prevent or limit crash injuries to astronauts aboard the crew vehicle of the Orion spacecraft are undergoing development. The design of these seats incorporates and goes beyond crash-protection concepts embodied in prior spacecraft and racing-car seats to afford superior protection against impacts. Although the seats are designed to support astronauts in a recumbent, quasi-fetal posture that would likely not be suitable for non-spacecraft applications, parts of the design could be adapted to military and some civilian aircraft seats and to racing-car seats to increase levels of protection.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Medical, Briefs, TSP, MDB

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Droplet-Based Production of Liposomes

A process for making monodisperse liposomes having lipid bilayer membranes involves fewer, simpler process steps than do related prior methods. First, a microfluidic, cross-junction droplet generator is used to produce vesicles comprising aqueous-solution droplets contained in single-layer lipid membranes. The vesicles are collected in a lipid-solvent mix that is at most partially soluble in water and is less dense than is water. A layer of water is dispensed on top of the solvent. By virtue of the difference in densities, the water sinks to the bottom and the solvent floats to the top. The vesicles, which have almost the same density as that of water, become exchanged into the water instead of floating to the top. As there are excess lipids in the solvent solution, in order for the vesicles to remain in the water, the addition of a second lipid layer to each vesicle is energetically favored.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Coatings & Adhesives, Medical, Briefs, MDB

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Using Fluorescent Viruses for Detecting Bacteria in Water

A method of detecting water-borne pathogenic bacteria is based partly on established molecular-recognition and fluorescent-labeling concepts, according to which bacteria of a species of interest are labeled with fluorescent reporter molecules and the bacteria can then be detected by fluorescence spectroscopy. The novelty of the present method lies in the use of bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) to deliver the fluorescent reporter molecules to the bacteria of the species of interest. Bacteriophages that selectively infect that species are selected, and fluorescently labeled virus probes (FLVPs) are prepared by staining these bacteriophages with a fluorescent dye. The FLVPs are immobilized on an optical substrate, which could be a window or a waveguide.

Posted in: Medical, Briefs

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Anaerobic Digestion in a Flooded Densified Leachbed

A document discusses the adaptation of a patented biomass-digesting process, denoted sequential batch anaerobic composting (SEBAC), to recycling of wastes aboard a spacecraft. In SEBAC, high-solids-content biomass wastes are converted into methane, carbon dioxide, and compost.

Posted in: Medical, Briefs

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Continuous-Flow System Produces Medical-Grade Water

Pressurized flowing water is heated by absorption of microwave power. A continuous-flow system utilizes microwave heating to sterilize water and to thermally inactivate endotoxins produced in the sterilization process. The system is designed for use in converting potable water to medical-grade water. Systems like this one could be used for efficient, small-scale production of medical-grade water in laboratories, clinics, and hospitals. This system could be adapted to use in selective sterilization of connections in ultra-pure-water-producing equipment and other equipment into which intrusion by microorganisms cannot be tolerated. Lightweight, portable systems based on the design of this system could be rapidly deployed to remote locations (e.g., military field hospitals) or in response to emergencies in which the normal infrastructure for providing medical-grade water is disrupted. Larger systems based on the design of this system could be useful for industrial production of medical-grade water.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Medical, Briefs, TSP

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